Ep. 74 | Generate More Trackable Leads with Integrated Web Forms

Picture of Phil Bosley for the Rethink Marketing Podcast where he talks about integrated web forms for tracking leads

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When used correctly, web forms integrated with your marketing automation and CRM platforms can be one of the most important tools in your lead generation strategy. For many organizations, forms are the #1 way to capture leads on websites.

In this week’s episode we chat with Phil Bosley, CEO and founder of Tactical Marketing, about the importance of using forms, form tools, and form integrations. We also dive into the strategies of when to use forms, and the power of Act-On’s adaptive forms.

The main purpose of a form is to get permission to interact and continue to engage with a potential customer, gain insightful information on that prospect, and let you prioritize and score a lead’s attributes (such as title) and actions (such as downloading a solution-focused eBook).

Proper form creation can have a huge impact on conversion rates, and will ultimately help you get more qualified leads in the hands of your sales team.

It’s critical to use online marketing forms well. They are the one place on your website where you have the chance to capture contact data a prospect willingly provides, in essence giving you permission to market to them. Of course, this works only if you offer something of value, such as access to an eBook download or a webinar, in exchange for the contact information.

You can use online marketing forms as the workhorse behind marketing campaigns, in a variety of ways:

  • Collect prospect data during registration and survey sign-up
  • Use links in emails and ads that lead back to your form
  • Post forms on your website that trigger automated response emails, document downloads and sales team alerts

In our conversation, Phil also talked about the benefits of Act-On’ s progressive profiling.

Progressive Profiling

Progressive profiling is a method for gradually gathering prospect information by asking questions incrementally. Implement automatic progressive profiling rules during registration so you can ask the right questions of your prospects based on what you already know about them.

The rules of progressive profiling include the following:

  • Ask only what you absolutely need to know: The first marketing form should  ask only for the basics, such as name and email address. A long form with too many questions comes across as aggressive and is much less likely to be filled out. Short forms feel less invasive and can be completed quickly, both of which are important to a new prospect just getting to know your company. Think of it like meeting a new acquaintance; you don’t ask personal questions in a first encounter.

Time your questions carefully: With the first form out of the way, serve the prospect new forms on subsequent visits with one or two questions at a time. For example, on the first return visit, the form may display the name and email address already filled in, showing the website recognizes the person, which usually feels friendly. This second form might ask one or two questions about the person’s company, or intent. The second return visit may ask one or two follow-up questions depending upon how the prospect answered the previous question(s).

We also covered form strategy, or when and what content should you be gating with a form.

Form Strategy

The primary goal of your content is either to create new leads or to help a mid-funnel lead take a next step. You should make lead stage a major factor in your form strategy, so that you can apply the right content to get more conversions.

It is critical that the information you request in a form is appropriate to the funnel stage.

Content designed for general interest (top of funnel) should be deployed as free content (which means it doesn’t require the prospect to give information to see it). This content should provide compelling reasons for your audience to want more information. Once you establish your brand as a source for great content, then offer more, and make this additional information require a simple form asking for first name, last name, and email address. This will convert your prospect to a known visitor.

Content that promotes a product or service (middle of funnel) is more valuable to your audience, and therefore the price of entry should be higher. In order to create maximum ROI for you, the forms you use for this content can be more robust. In this stage, you will often request first name, last name, email address, company name, and title. You may also seek to capture more demographic information, such as the company size.

Content designed for serious buyers (bottom of funnel) will have longer, more detailed forms. Good examples of this type of content include pricing, demos, rates, comparative studies, and inventory. If a prospect is looking for this information, there’s a good chance they are completing the research phase of the buying process and moving into deliberation. At this stage, it is perfectly reasonably to be seeking specific information from your audience about budget, role, business needs, and timeline to purchase.